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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Aaronic blessing
"The Pattern Of Sound Teaching"

Message summary: Today the Church is in dire need of more faithful proclaimers of sound doctrine, not swayed by emotional hype or by the patterns of this world and its passing fancies.

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"Hold on to the pattern of sound teaching that you have heard from me" (2 Timothy 1:13). "The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also" (2 Timothy 2:2). "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine" (2 Timothy 4:3).

Philip BongiornoAs a young man of 21 I got my license as a minister in Southern Missouri and began my first pastorate in Fair Grove, MO. After our move to the northeast I was ordained to ministry on May 8, 1979 which was also our 3rd wedding anniversary. At the service
Phillip Bongiorno, our District Superintendent, read a solemn passage of Scripture verses from 2 Timothy. Pastor Bongiorno, who is still living, is a short Italian man who, prior to his conversion to Christ, had some mafia associations. He would often begin any message he preached with a brief testimony and inevitably wept as he shared it.

Standing in a long line with other ordinands as I held my Bible and faced the congregation though it was in 1979, it has become a lasting memorable experience. Pastor Bongiorno didn't rush through the Scripture reading but slowly enunciated each phrase and sometimes a single word, pausing at times to let them sink in.

"I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry" (2 Timothy 4:1-5).

What a powerful Scripture selection; then, now and for all time! Today I especially consider the phrase, "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine." I suppose to some extent that has always been true but it seems, in my nearly forty years of ministry as an ordained minister, that the ability to "endure sound doctrine" has diminished greatly.*

What does that phrase mean, "endure sound doctrine (teaching)"? Other versions render the phrase: (see here for this phrase in many English translations).
"will not put up with sound doctrine" (NIV).
"will not tolerate sound doctrine and accurate instruction [that challenges them with God’s truth]" (Amplified)

For one thing we must endure due to the constant pull of the world to conform us to this world's pattern. It takes great endurance to resist this pull and stay faithful. But the mission of the faithful minister of the Gospel in each generation is to "contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints" (Jude 3). That is, obeying from our hearts, the pattern of sound teaching.

This pattern of sound teaching is established in Scripture. This pattern is fundamentally found in the changeless Word of God and has been expressed by the Church down through the centuries in creeds, catechisms and doctrinal statements. It is a declaration of what we believe.

The Greek word for "sound" is "hugiaino" which gives us our English word "hygiene" which of course refers to "clean or healthy practices". It connotes healthy, sound, wholesome, free from flaw, defect or error and emphasizes the absence of disease, weakness, or malfunction.

Bible commentator Albert Barnes describes sound teaching as "words conducive to a due observance of the proprieties of life; doctrines leading to contentment, and sober industry, and the patient endurance of evils (trials)."

Today the Church is in dire need of more faithful proclaimers of sound doctrine, not swayed by emotional hype or by the patterns of this world and it's passing fancies. "The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever" (1 John 2:17).

A.W. Tozer, who died over 50 years ago, had such insight in the condition of the church (in his own time and looking to the future). He wrote, "Increasing numbers of [Christians] are becoming ashamed to be found unequivocally on the side of truth. They say they believe, but their beliefs have been so diluted as to be impossible of clear definition."

Let us resolve to faithfully follow and proclaim the pattern of sound teaching as established in the Holy Scriptures! Paul challenged believers in
Romans 6:17, "Obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed our allegiance". Let us do so today and until we all get to heaven.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we as followers of Christ, must be careful to follow the Bible's pattern of sound teaching. At times we find ourselves arguing with Your truths and teaching from Scripture, our thoughts being at odds with Bible teaching that doesn't fit in with the views and lifestyles we're drawn to which are patterned after the world's thinking. Yet You are the Author of truth, You know that which will bring us good and that which will bring us harm. Help us not to read and interpret Scripture so that it aligns with our view point, instead we want to align our view point in accordance with the Scriptures. We want to love You with all our heart so that we will follow the pattern of sound doctrine and walk in accordance with the Scripture. Amen.

* Additional note:

We indeed see a hastening in the departure from sound doctrine and Biblical obedience that seems to be increasing exponentially which can be seen in some national ministries which have succumbed to the spirit of this age. I read reports of a national conference for young people that for many years had been a strong proponent of Biblical Christianity. This year they had speakers spouting practically unimaginable heresy. See here or here if you are interested.

So many "Christian" Colleges are now that in name and heritage only and are more interested in being politically and academically correct than Biblically faithful, often mocking the teachings of the Bible and essentially the college founders. The word "politically correct" is commonly used to "describe language, policies, or measures that are intended to avoid offense or disadvantage to members of particular groups in society." It also seems to have the sense of whatever is currently popular. See here for an example.

I use the term "academically correct" to describe those teachings and notions which are currently accepted among the "academically elite", whether these teachings are true or not and so often they are just plain crazy! In other words those who lead and teach at any college desire to be accepted and approved by those deemed academically more qualified (in the sense of having more formal education and degrees from institutions deemed prestigious like Harvard, Yale, etc). Who wants to be shamed into being considered "backwards" and "ignorant"!

Let me illustrate by a current saga I have observed for several years from a distance although I will not use the name.

I read about a man who at that time served as a minister in the same denomination of which I hold my credentials. We have thankfully held to Biblical and traditional views on marriage and sexuality. This man is an academic, having advanced degrees, and seems to consider himself far smarter than others due to his degrees and progressive ideas.

He began advocating for a change in our position on marriage and sexuality even though he knew the view the denomination held when he signed up to be a minister. The honorable thing for him to do would have been to resign since his views had changed. But instead, as is often the case with apostasy, he was using his influence to advocate for his new position. In his estimation, since he was so smart and academically qualified, the rest of us should just go along with his newly evolving views which were indeed politically and academically correct.

Thankfully this came to the attention of the denominational leadership and he was dismissed, which garnered him considerable victim status among those who were like minded. The leadership was seen as backward and mean-spirited by this group. At that time he was teaching at a "Christian" college in our area and received support from his colleagues.

I hadn't paid any attention to this matter for several years but recently read and confirmed that he had left that college, left his wife and children and was now pretending to be a woman (the non-politically correct way of saying "transgendered") and is struggling with alcoholism. We pray for him and for his family even as I write this message that he would see the invasion of darkness that has covered the light of God's truth in his life, and that there would be a return to sound biblical faith.

Brooksyne uses a rolling pin in the course of baking at times, but my earliest memory of a rolling pin was watching my mom roll out dough to make pie crusts. Sometimes she'd save a little extra dough, roll it out to make a small crust, sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar, and after it baked it was mine to enjoy - kind of like a cookie. The "All That and a Bag of Chips Cafe" in Lebanon was originally a bakery. The present owners do a lot of baking including making all their own breads. They display these rolling pins and use them regularly.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"One Day (When We All Get To Heaven)"  Video  Calvary Church Choir and Orchestra (We've shared a link to this song the last several days but this is the version
used this last weekend at Calvary Church where Brooksyne sings in the choir. It was a touching way to remember the deceased from the church from the last year. Some of our local readers may just recognize a familiar face among those presented in the power point presentation.)

With Jesse Dourte at pulpit
A loving farewell to our dear brother in Christ, Jesse Dourte: Many times we have featured photos and stories about Jesse and Wilma Dourte in our messages. Jesse pastored for many years and was a faithful proclaimer of the truth. At 95 years of age, his health was failing and this morning we learned that he was promoted to heaven. Stephen visited him at the hospital on Sunday and prayed with him. Jesse told him that he was looking forward to attending a concert this Spring which features the older hymns that his generation grew up on. It was just like Jesse to always be looking forward to something! He was a faithful contender of sound doctrine and, instead of hearing a church choir, he now gets to hear the angelic choir in his new imperishable and ageless body. We thank God for his life and pray for Wilma during this time of transition.

Background of photo: Jesse stands with Stephen behind the pulpit in Mastersonville church where he pastored for several years in an interim role. Jesse had been pastor there many decades earlier and was very supportive of our ministry there. They preached behind the same pulpit the unchanging Word of God. Jesse was like a "father in the faith" since we came to know him and his wife Wilma nearly ten years ago.

Finally today:
We often crossed the Tappan Zee Bridge, a very busy long narrow bridge across the Hudson River north of NYC when traveling to and from New England when we lived there in the nineties. It famously swayed in the wind on occasion and we recall traffic backups on it. A new bridge has replaced it and yesterday a portion was imploded. Video

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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